Sunday, 11 May 2014

Three days in Yerevan N 40.11.33 E 44.28.57

We drove into Armenia on the main (only) road from Georgia. Rugged mountain pass, road probably hasn't been repaired since the soviet era. Tiny communities clinging to the hillsides. Terraced fields where cows pretend to be mountain goats. Abandoned buildings and factories.

Yerevan, the capital. Huge opera house and stadiums built by philanthropic overseas foundations that the country can't afford to keep repaired. Brand new buildings that locals can't afford to live in with high end shops for tourists to hopefully spend their money. Our guide says it is difficult to know how many people live here because most have moved for work.

A trip through the history museum yesterday - the Mesopotamia I learned about in school as the place civilization started is partly Armenia and partly Iran. Artisans here were making jewelry 3 million BC. And arms, first in rock the bronze then iron. Yerevan is the oldest city in the world - written proof of date anyway. First country to be officially Christian. Their written language is from about 400 AD and essentially unchanged.

However, Armenia is another country like Georgia - on the route from east to west for any conqueror. Relatively stable during the Ottoman Empire, population systematically killed in 1915 when Lenin and Ataturk decided borders and then again in the 1990s as the USSR was breaking up. Turkey claims western parts of Armenia and refuses to admit that the 1915 genocide happened. Azerbaijan refuses to accept that Nagorno Karabakh is independent and negotiations over boundaries from the 1994 war have still not been settled. The "cease fire line" is quite different depending on who's map you look at.

That said, other than being able to say I've been here, I'm not sure why we did. Three days in a hotel with nothing particular to do.

Posting my photos and then deleting them from my camera as Azerbaijan does not wish to believe that Armenia and the genocide existed. Google Armenia Genocide for info.

Working hard to get dinner made.
Unnoticed in the background are the sheep
that contributed to Armenia's square on
my journal quilt

Mikkel's first find of an interesting
creature to share with the group.

Having tea in one of the tourist stops in
downtown Yerevan

Genocide memorial

Throughout Asia this was how utensils were placed

In search of the local lemonade

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